It’s taken me nearly eight years to write this story waiting for the happy ending and now it’s finally time for me to share.
I became a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Member almost 25 years ago with regular flights between my home in Phoenix and to see my mother in Las Vegas. After buying a business in Las Vegas in 1998, I was flying weekly. It was on these regular trips that I began to experience the true benefits of frequent travel with Southwest. Adding a Southwest Credit Card to the equation increased my free travel, along with Companion Passes, free round trip tickets, and flexible travel rules ... I was enjoying every moment!
Fast forward to 2007 and I'm in Baltimore for the first time. My son was playing in a national teen basketball tournament that summer. Recently divorced, my daughter joined me (on my Companion Pass) as we decided to make a mini vacation out of it. Little did I know what was in store for me.
I had a good friend in Phoenix who was from Baltimore. He mentioned casually that his close friend Wendy, described to me as "a cute petite blonde," lived in the Baltimore area. She was also recently divorced, and my friend mentioned that I might like her. I was visiting Baltimore with my kids, so the thought of meeting someone was not a priority and I never followed up on his comment.
Once in Baltimore, we went about our vacation watching my son’s basketball games and passing the time in between. All the while in the back of my mind, I was aware there was a cute blonde named Wendy somewhere out there. I found myself looking at women that fit this description and thinking to myself, "is that her?"
It was our second day in Baltimore when I found myself in the checkout line at Target purchasing an item for my daughter. Not familiar with the area but knowing my next destination, I asked the cashier for directions, which she did not know. That’s when a voice next to me chimed in. I looked over, said thank you, and then realized I was standing next to an attractive and petite blonde haired woman. Could it be Wendy? The words came out of my mouth before I realized that what I said next might be construed as inappropriate...
"Hey what’s your name?"
The woman, clearly not prepared for my query, hesitated slightly and then said, "Wendy".
Having established quickly that this was in fact THE Wendy, I recall I was not surprised in the least at this chance meeting, as if it was ... well ... meant to be. Wendy only vaguely knew of me from our mutual friend, who had mentioned in passing that I would be in town for the basketball tournament. We spoke briefly while walking out of the store together with my daughter. Wendy didn’t know whether I was married or single, nor did she care. Being a courteous ambassador, she invited me to contact her should I have any other questions about the area during my stay and we said our goodbyes.
A few days later, I was at Baltimore–Washington International Airport (BWI) in a day long weather delay awaiting my departure back to Phoenix. Passing the time, I sent a text to my Phoenix friend asking for Wendy's email address. The rest of that afternoon was spent writing and receiving emails with Wendy for what seemed like hours. We quickly found common ground and by the time my flight finally departed, we had established a connection. In the ensuing days and weeks, our communication was constant, quickly becoming more than just pen pals—I had just found my new best friend. Over the next six weeks, our friendship and feelings for each other blossomed. A business conference I later attended in North Carolina led to us meeting up again, thanks to Southwest. From there, we began our relationship and the rest is history.
I could end the story here, but with six kids between us from our respective marriages, let’s just say that a cross-country relationship was not practical. The first few years were fun and exciting as we picked Southwest cities to meet at. We were traveling back and forth between our cities, all the while knowing that no solution may ever present itself for us to be together. We always said we would not be a couple if it wasn’t for Southwest and their flexible travel, refundable flights, and Rapid Reward points. I became proficient at Southwest travel, planning visits three months out and changing plans and flights, if necessary.
Throughout the years, we have experienced the challenges of business and family, but we have persevered. I am writing this while in flight, Southwest bound once again for BWI. This will be one of my last over almost eight long years as Wendy prepares to move to Phoenix this summer. With family back east, I am certain frequent Southwest flights will still be in our future. Finally, Wendy will be flying with me—both on my Companion Pass and as my companion—forever after.
After reading dozens of your Rapid Rewards articles and after years of prodding by friends and family, I decided to submit "our" story.